The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

April 30, 2013

Joplin board issues remainder of $62 million in bonds

By Emily Younker
news@joplinglobe.com

JOPLIN, Mo. — The Joplin Board of Education on Tuesday authorized the sale of $27 million in bonds to help pay for the rebuilding of schools destroyed by the 2011 tornado.

The amount is what’s left to be sold of a total of $62 million in general obligation bonds that voters approved in April 2012 to go toward about $185 million in construction projects. The list includes the rebuilding of Joplin High School, Franklin Technology Center, East Middle School, and Irving and what now is called Soaring Heights elementary schools, and construction of safe rooms at all schools.

The first bond sale, in the amount of $35 million, took place in July 2012. Paul Barr, the district’s chief financial officer, said the objective of splitting the issue was to wait until the second segment of the bond proceeds was needed for the construction projects.

“We didn’t need all the money last summer, so we will have saved some interest expenses,” he said.

Gregory Bricker, executive vice president of George K. Baum & Co., the Kansas City-based underwriter of the bonds, said the district saved nearly $1 million in interest expenses by waiting until now to sell the second portion of the bonds.

Bricker told the board that all the bonds were “spoken for” and would be sold after Tuesday’s meeting. He said local investors accounted for about $1.2 million in purchases.

The interest rate on the bonds — 3.53 percent — remains largely unchanged from last summer’s sales, Bricker said. The bond closing is scheduled for May 15, he said.

Voters last year authorized a 35-cent levy hike to pay off the debt over 20 years. The school district’s total levy is now $3.66, which means that the owner of a $100,000 home pays about $695 in school taxes annually.

In other business Tuesday, the board accepted the following bids for construction work:

• A $113,000 bid from Livers Bronze Co. for stainless steel and decorative railing materials at East Middle School and Soaring Heights Elementary School.

• A $52,420 bid from Desco Coatings Inc. for precast concrete terrazzo at East/Soaring Heights.

• A $127,689 bid from KAT Excavation Inc. for topsoil at East/Soaring Heights.

• A $527,000 bid from Swift Construction Co. for asphalt at East/Soaring Heights.

• A $429,350 bid from North American Landscape Solutions for landscaping and irrigation at East/Soaring Heights.

• A $777,595 bid from Carroll Seating Co. for auditorium seating and telescopic stands at Joplin High School and Franklin Technology Center.

The acceptance of the bids follows action earlier this month in which board members gave a green light to more than $34 million in other construction work at the high school site.